TheSamba.com Forums
 
  View original topic: 3 corner windshield seal rust repair Page: 1, 2, 3  Next
VR6zamboni Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:56 pm

After owning my van for the past 8 years I have finally decided its time to fix all the rust issues. First up is the windshield seal rust.

As you can see its really bad in the corners especially the top passenger side. All the different threads I have read do not mention how to repair the upper corner being almost completely rusted out. My first thought is that I should replace the whole A-Pillar. Will that even be enough? It is hard to tell from the photos online if it covers all the spots where mine has rusted through.

I want to fix this as good as it can possible be done.














4Gears4Tires Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:32 pm

You're on the right track for sure. I probably wouldn't replace the whole pillar, I would cut and replace the sections that are bad. It is a lot less work and you don't ruin other things. The reason is my direct experience. I cut one entire rear quarter out, the other side I just cut the bottom 12" out. Same result, a lot less work. The corner that isnt rusted through I would sand back to smooth, don't cut it out.

I just have to know, where are you working on your van? In the middle of the SW 200 miles from nowhere?

Edit: When you have the sections cut open, put 3M Mar-Hyde (or whatever liquid rust converter you prefer) in a squirt bottle and squirt it down every passage you can find.

VR6zamboni Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:30 pm

Good to know - hopefully I can find a Vanagon that I can cut out the pieces I need.

I'm actually in Montana about 200 miles from nowhere working out of a carport behind my cabin :~ )


VR6zamboni Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:44 pm

After freaking out a little bit and realizing how hard it maybe to find all the panels that I need to fix all the rust on my van. I lucked out and found a van 6 hours away woohoo! The only rust it has is in the foot wells. Most of the seams don't even have cracks in the seam seal. At first I was thinking I should just transfer everything from my Westy over to it and do a high top roof. But with the front corner hit pretty hard, two of the fenders, all the doors have pretty good dents in them, and all the work of switching roofs or doing a high top I think I am gonna stick to my plan with using the panels from this van to fix mine. Any thoughts on this?

My Westy has not only the windshield seal rust but has also rusted trough the front below the lower grill, the drivers side foot well, the lower center panel drivers side, the rear hatch, and few other little minor seam spots (that hopefully do not turn out to be big spots). I am getting ready to purchase a Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder, Paint & Rust Stripping Wheels, 80 Grit Flap Wheels, Spot Weld Cutter Set, Angle Grinder, Dremel Cutting Wheels, and a few other things. Once I clear the paint from all the rusted areas to see exactly what I have to deal with I will post more photos of my Westy.

In the meantime if anyone has any tips or suggestions for my current situation let me know what you think. Here are some photos of the van I picked up.

















Doh! Luckily my van is good here.

Were these rag tops a factory option?

I dont understand why this frame support was cut like this.

Unfortunatly no diesel engine & trans with it that would have been nice.

Anyone know what trim level this van was?

Steve M. Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:08 pm

Now that you have the spare body and getting the welder...practice on the junker metal because it is thin metal and harder to weld. Practice practice pratice!
...unless you already know how to weld!

alaskadan Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:47 pm

A rust free donor is the way to go. It will pay many a dividend. Are you planning on unit with a gas tank too, or flux cored? Pay the extra for a gas equipped model. It's just that much better. FWIW I've never had a good welding experience with lower end hobart welder. Lincoln and Miller are my favorites. Just sayin.

4Gears4Tires Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:56 am

I went with a no name flux core MIG to an ESAB Rebel 215 with gas and my welds improved a hundred fold instantly. Gas is definitely the way to go, especially with thin metal.

I'd stick with your current van since both need body work but you'd have to strip down your current van and transfer everything over to the new one. That is a lot of work.

Definitely practice sheet metal welding on the donor van, whichever one that becomes.

If you stick with your original plan, I would try to cut out the entire front windshield section and then weld it back in as one unit. That way you don't have any of your welding seams where the glass mates with the metal. Less chance of leaks. If you're worried about it flexing out of shape during the transfer, you might tack an X across it with some tube steel. But it'll probably be ok.

Cut out the whole foot well and weld that in, etc. Just do it in whole chunks.

Spray everything down with self etching primer. Wait a week then slather Mar-Hyde on the weld lines because that primer won't seal it 100% and you'll see the rust start forming in spots you couldnt grind down smooth. Then prime again and paint.

VR6zamboni Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:53 am

Steve M. wrote: Now that you have the spare body and getting the welder...practice on the junker metal because it is thin metal and harder to weld. Practice practice pratice!
...unless you already know how to weld!

I have not welded before, well I did once when I worked at a hockey rink. I stick welded a piece of rebar on a door latch for a handle. Yes definitely excited to practice on the donor van panels. Probably gonna use the doors since they are pretty dented up.



alaskadan wrote: A rust free donor is the way to go. It will pay many a dividend. Are you planning on unit with a gas tank too, or flux cored? Pay the extra for a gas equipped model. It's just that much better. FWIW I've never had a good welding experience with lower end hobart welder. Lincoln and Miller are my favorites. Just sayin.

I know I'm so lucky to have found this donor van. Yes I went with the Hobart 140 MIG - from the information online is the gas really going to be necessary if I am spot/stitch welding to keep the heat down. I did buy that particular welder to keep costs down but also so I had the gas option if I need it. About how much would a small tank cost, and then to fill with the correct mixture?



4Gears4Tires wrote: I went with a no name flux core MIG to an ESAB Rebel 215 with gas and my welds improved a hundred fold instantly. Gas is definitely the way to go, especially with thin metal.

I'd stick with your current van since both need body work but you'd have to strip down your current van and transfer everything over to the new one. That is a lot of work.

Definitely practice sheet metal welding on the donor van, whichever one that becomes.

If you stick with your original plan, I would try to cut out the entire front windshield section and then weld it back in as one unit. That way you don't have any of your welding seams where the glass mates with the metal. Less chance of leaks. If you're worried about it flexing out of shape during the transfer, you might tack an X across it with some tube steel. But it'll probably be ok.

Cut out the whole foot well and weld that in, etc. Just do it in whole chunks.

Spray everything down with self etching primer. Wait a week then slather Mar-Hyde on the weld lines because that primer won't seal it 100% and you'll see the rust start forming in spots you couldnt grind down smooth. Then prime again and paint.

Thanks for that info. Unfortunately the foot well is rusted out on the donor van as well so I think I am going to buy one of these panels: 251-801-051C has anyone seen them sold by anyone other then Go Westy?

GreggK Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:15 pm

https://www2.cip1.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=598
I ordered some panels from these guys in the past.

alaskadan Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:10 pm

For a med size tank and a regulator setup you might spend 3 to 4 hundred. Try craigslist for a tank. Learning with a gas equipped welder would be a lot easier too.

4Gears4Tires Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:04 pm

I think I paid $233 for tank and fill for a medium sized tank. I went through that tank doing my rust repair. The tank is on exchange, so next time I only had to pay $100 or so in gas.

MarkWard Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:37 am

Iíd watch some videos. I had to teach myself. Iíd much rather weld 3/16 steel than thin sheetmetal. Itís very frustrating. It is so easy to blow through. Flux core makes it even more frustrating. Itís really suited to welding thicker metal where you run a continuous bead. You then go back and Chip the flux off. Welding sheetmetal, youíll have to chip as you go.

I bought my Miller 120 long ago for welding a clip on my race car. I was going to buy a smaller less expensive one, but didnít. This welder has more than paid for itself. I can weld to 1/4Ē on one pass. Once you can weld, youíll be surprised how many friends will seek you out.

Iíd advise against cutting out the entire pillar. Iím pretty sure itís multiple layers and access to weld it back could prove difficult. At least cut the pillar out of the donor first to see whatís there. This will also help to dissect for the sections you need.

Harbor freight sells a cheap spot weld cutter. Get 5 of them. I also ended up with a seam splitter from somewhere.

Patience. It could prove to be the most frustrating thing youíve ever done. I recommend an auto darken helmet and if your my age, either some cheap readers or a magnifying lense. I have a magnetic light I can point at the work area. The hardest part of welding is ďseeingĒ what you are doing.

4Gears4Tires Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:11 am

Lol no, don't cut the pillar. That wasn't what I was suggesting. Just the first layer of metal all the way around. Like replacing a house window's trim.

MarkWard Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:02 am

Another suggestion. Even though the windshield rust is more critical, I would start with the floor. You canít watch a video and be an expert. The floor is covered with carpet, so if itís a little ugly, you can hit it with some seam sealer and undercoating. Work on your technique and remember, you canít weld paint or rust.

alaskadan Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:56 am

Mark makes a good point about seeing what you are doing. A magnetic welding light or a single halogen work light point blank on the spot you are working on helps immensely. Without light you are only going to see maybe 1/16" of the seam you are welding right next to the arc. Often times you are just picturing the seam in your mind once you've struck an arc.

nmerrill Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:10 pm

Just a contrarian thought-and I don't have all the details,
But,
Considering how rusty the old van looks, it's probably rustier than that- everywhere.

You're doing body work anyway.
Why not do it on a basically rust free body?
Which would you rather have in the end? A fixed up rust bucket, or a fixed up rust free van?
Just a thought.

MarkWard Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:13 pm

If the roof had not been molested twice, the donor looks to be a nice chassis. That LF corner could be repaired. I just combined two vans into one using the best parts and it was a ton of work.

Vanagon Nut Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:46 pm

VR6zamboni wrote:

I have not welded before, well I did once when I worked at a hockey rink. I stick welded a piece of rebar on a door latch for a handle. .....

Yes I went with the Hobart 140 MIG - from the information online is the gas really going to be necessary if I am spot/stitch welding to keep the heat down. I did buy that particular welder to keep costs down but also so I had the gas option if I need it. About how much would a small tank cost, and then to fill with the correct mixture?

I tried a little Oxy/acetylene welding as a teen and had done some brass, copper, brazing including bronze brazing. These helped but I wish I'd watched some videos first vs reading. My first and only welding rig is a Hobart 140 with smaller tri mix shielding gas; it can do stainless or carbon steel. Tri mix mixes vary in content. That Hobart has served me quite well, no issues with it.

This is some of what I've learned that has helped. Of course YMMV and I certainly wouldn't call myself a weldor! ;)

Work lighting must be excellent. Especially on your work so you can see the puddle as you go. Learn how to set your helmut settings correctly.

Gauge of wire makes a difference. Depending on wire speed, e.g. variable vs stepped, sometimes a thicker wire on thinner metal can work better.

On thicker pieces for butt welds, grind angles pieces and in cold ambient temps, pre heat pieces with a propane torch, maybe a heat gun.

In lieu of a proper metal welding table, the ground clamp spot on work must be very clean. The galvanizing stuff vw used can look like bare metal especially in poor lighting situations. Be certain to grind down work pieces to clean metal.

An angle grinder/cut off wheel, bench grinder can shape almost any piece of metal.

The magnetic type adjustable things are great but can be fussy to work with. Flat magnets can be really useful to position smaller pieces to the body. I've used those Harbour Freight magnets with hooks for this.

If you buy a used tank, make sure its been rectified or that date on it allows for a few years of use at least.

Neil.

bobbyblack Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:40 pm

I bought my Miller 120 with a tank from the daughter of dear friend now long deceased. Had a short tank, and I took it to Mississippi Welding Supply, who 'owns' the tank. It was not real pretty getting them to acknowledge that I had their tank, and it was not stolen, etc. Anyway, an exchange for a full tank was very reasonable. Perhaps around $45.

Anyway, I learned to do body clips at a local community college in the early '90's, and promptly never welded again until 2015. Even though I seem to remember it being somewhat difficult, I still burn through body skins with extreme disgust with myself. My welds are ugly. I need to get a lot more practice.. once or twice a year is just not close to enough.

Mark, other than using several 500w halogen lamps (my shop is real cold in winter, so I aim a few at myself) I could use a few pointers on feed speed, and heat settings you use.

-bobby

VR6zamboni Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:05 pm

MarkWard wrote: Iíd watch some videos. I had to teach myself. Iíd much rather weld 3/16 steel than thin sheetmetal. Itís very frustrating. It is so easy to blow through. Flux core makes it even more frustrating. Itís really suited to welding thicker metal where you run a continuous bead. You then go back and Chip the flux off. Welding sheetmetal, youíll have to chip as you go.

I bought my Miller 120 long ago for welding a clip on my race car. I was going to buy a smaller less expensive one, but didnít. This welder has more than paid for itself. I can weld to 1/4Ē on one pass. Once you can weld, youíll be surprised how many friends will seek you out.

Iíd advise against cutting out the entire pillar. Iím pretty sure itís multiple layers and access to weld it back could prove difficult. At least cut the pillar out of the donor first to see whatís there. This will also help to dissect for the sections you need.

Harbor freight sells a cheap spot weld cutter. Get 5 of them. I also ended up with a seam splitter from somewhere.

Patience. It could prove to be the most frustrating thing youíve ever done. I recommend an auto darken helmet and if your my age, either some cheap readers or a magnifying lense. I have a magnetic light I can point at the work area. The hardest part of welding is ďseeingĒ what you are doing.


Been watching many videos lately on welding body panels. Just picked up my welder today. Super stoked to start practicing tomorrow. I purchased a auto darkening helmet that came with a magnifying lens, and have spot weld bits on the way.



4Gears4Tires wrote: Lol no, don't cut the pillar. That wasn't what I was suggesting. Just the first layer of metal all the way around. Like replacing a house window's trim.


Understood


MarkWard wrote: Another suggestion. Even though the windshield rust is more critical, I would start with the floor. You canít watch a video and be an expert. The floor is covered with carpet, so if itís a little ugly, you can hit it with some seam sealer and undercoating. Work on your technique and remember, you canít weld paint or rust.



Yes I was thinking that would be best to do first, then the lower center panel before the windsheild. For the foot well what do you all think about making my own panel anyone seen that done before?



nmerrill wrote: Just a contrarian thought-and I don't have all the details,
But,
Considering how rusty the old van looks, it's probably rustier than that- everywhere.

You're doing body work anyway.
Why not do it on a basically rust free body?
Which would you rather have in the end? A fixed up rust bucket, or a fixed up rust free van?
Just a thought.


That's a good point but I really dont think it is that bad. The frame has no rust at all on it. Will see tho once I start removing bubbling paint next week what I have to work with.



Vanagon Nut wrote: I tried a little Oxy/acetylene welding as a teen and had done some brass, copper, brazing including bronze brazing. These helped but I wish I'd watched some videos first vs reading. My first and only welding rig is a Hobart 140 with smaller tri mix shielding gas; it can do stainless or carbon steel. Tri mix mixes vary in content. That Hobart has served me quite well, no issues with it.

This is some of what I've learned that has helped. Of course YMMV and I certainly wouldn't call myself a weldor! ;)

Work lighting must be excellent. Especially on your work so you can see the puddle as you go. Learn how to set your helmut settings correctly.

Gauge of wire makes a difference. Depending on wire speed, e.g. variable vs stepped, sometimes a thicker wire on thinner metal can work better.

On thicker pieces for butt welds, grind angles pieces and in cold ambient temps, pre heat pieces with a propane torch, maybe a heat gun.

In lieu of a proper metal welding table, the ground clamp spot on work must be very clean. The galvanizing stuff vw used can look like bare metal especially in poor lighting situations. Be certain to grind down work pieces to clean metal.

An angle grinder/cut off wheel, bench grinder can shape almost any piece of metal.

The magnetic type adjustable things are great but can be fussy to work with. Flat magnets can be really useful to position smaller pieces to the body. I've used those Harbour Freight magnets with hooks for this.

If you buy a used tank, make sure its been rectified or that date on it allows for a few years of use at least.

Neil.



Thanks for that info especially warming it up pre weld with a heat gun. Being at 7,000ft it might get pretty cold even in the summer. Oh does altitude effect welding at all?



Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group